Despite going 2-2 this week the Stars narrowly retain top spot on the power rankings due to their league leading record and point differential. They started their week with a win over the Renegades at home before losing to the red hot Jailbirds on the road. They recovered with a dominant win over the Warriors and finished their week off with a narrow loss at home to the surging Tritons. On the bright side for the Stars this week finally saw the offensive awakening of Simon Hartford, who averaged 21.5ppg, after a slow start to the season.
The Tritons soar to the second spot after an inspired week in which they went 5-1 beating a murders row of quality opposition. They beat the Hurricanes and Rockets at home before splitting a home/away series against the Thunder and wrapped up their week with victories against the Stars and Knights. Beyond the dominating performance of Marcus Ivory a key to the team's improved performance has been the uplift in efficiency, if not production, of Nix and Fortier.
The Jailbirds are the form team of the competition after going 4-0 this week to extend their winning streak to 6 games. They beat the Stars at home and the Scorpions on the road to start the week in style and finished it off with convincing victories against the Lightning and Fireballs. The change from the team that started the season 0-4 has been immense and much of the credit must go to Jason Cheaney. In his new role as the team's primary playmaker he has been simply outstanding, averaging 29 points and 9.5 assists this week. Give that man his max extension before he burns the league to the ground.
The Knights went 3-1 this week with the highlights being quality wins against the Renegades and Thunder. They also took care of their business defeating the Huskies. They ended the week with a road loss to the Tritons but shouldn't be too disappointed given the Tritons current form. After many predicted that the Knights may fall from the playoffs this year they are right on track to return. Honeycutt seems to have taken a leap forward in his 4th season and Hawes was simply unstoppable this week averaging 26-19.
After extending their season opening win streak to 6 against the Mustangs at home the Thunder faltered a little going 1-3 for the rest of the week. The split games against the Tritons, oddly winning the road game in that series, and lost to the Knights and Renegades. Whilst the Thunder will be disappointed with their week they shouldn't be to down on themselves given the quality of the opposition. But perhaps most importantly for their future success they should be thrilled with the continued robust performance of Aaron Rowland who was elevated to the starting lineup in Day 19. He struggled in his first start but rebounded with an exceptional game against the Renegades with 26-9-5. He's looking like one of the steals of the draft at #6.
The Scorpions lost both their games this week to stretch their losing streak to 4 games and earn a public rebuke from coach Rowland McLain. The Cyclones loss was exceptionally disappointing with the team being dominated on the glass and torn apart from long range. The 2-point loss at home to the Jailbirds is more forgivable given their form. Despite the losing streak its worth noting that the Scorpions still have the second best point differential in the league, as 3 of the losses were by a combined 9 points. Perhaps not noticed this week was a minor change in Dontay Sowder's role, to bring it back in line with the role he played last season.
The Hurricanes came back to earth a little this week going 1-3. The loss to the Tritons can be forgiven and the team quickly rebounded to defeat the Cyclones. However if the team has serious aspirations it will need to win its games against the competitions middle band which they failed to do in losses to the Vultures and Lightning. The team will be disappointed to lose starting SF James Livingston to injury just as he was starting to put together some decent offensive performances, but this will be offset somewhat by the news that Leon Bowen is only 1 week more week away. When both return we'll be in a much better position to evaluate this team's chances moving forwards.
8. New York Renegades (6-6, +4.2) (Last Week #6, - 2)
Whilst the Renegades are surely disappointed with their record to date they can be encouraged by the improved form they've shown since Frashon Lewis returned from his injury. The team only went 1-2 this week but their two losses were both small defeats to class teams in the Stars and Knights and they recorded a quality win against the Thunder on the road. Given that the presence of Rashard may have been enough to flip both those losses the Renegades should be optimistic about their chances when he returns this week.
To quote the Vultures GM his team is 'circling' after a strong 3-0 extended their winning streak to 4 games. The team beat the Lightning and Hurricanes on the road with a statement win against the Rockets at home in between. Rasheem Fisher possibly had his best game as a pro against the Rockets with 26-11 and a head to head win against former MVP Rubin Wingfield. Whilst the team may fall out of playoff contention from here this week the Vultures deserve their moment, circling in the sun.
The Rockets narrowly outdid their fellow 2019 EW finalists the Scorpions this week by going 0-3 and extending their own losing streak to 5. Whilst the loss to the Tritons on the road might have been expected the team will be upset to have lost winnable games to the Lightning and Vultures, particularly since the Vultures loss cost them the division lead. There is no easy diagnosis to what ails the Rockets, Goodwin and James aren't shooting it brilliantly perhaps, so maybe it's just a random occurrence. They'll attempt to break their losing streak on the road against the Scorpions in Day 23 in the '2020 Under Achievers Bowl.'
The Mustangs lost their opening game of the week on the road to the Thunder despite a 52 point explosion from Demetric Vaughn who is now leading the league in scoring at 32.1ppg. They rebounded quickly from this close loss to win their remaining two games of the week against the Skyhawks and Kings. The team continues to get strong bench production from Foreman and Bundu but is still not getting any consistent production from their second wing (alongside Vaughn). Fortune, Voss and Woodberry have all been given opportunities to date, but none have locked down the starting role. This problem is exacerbated by the inconsistent offensive performance of Christian Vickery, who hasn't been scoring the ball as well as he did last year with the Mustangs.
12. Los Angeles Fireballs (5-5, - 1.6) (Last Week #13, + 1)
The Fireballs clawed their way back to .500 this week after a disappointing start to their season. They started their week with wins against the Kings, Skyhawks and Warriors to take their win streak to 4 games. Unfortunately, they would end their week with a streak ending loss on the road to the Jailbirds. The team has clearly improved over the last two weeks as both Westley and The Dragon have benefited from the changes made to the rotation. Drayton Banks has also benefited from the move back to his natural PF position with the addition of Kimbrough into the starting lineup.
The Lightning went 2-3 this went with wins over the Rockets and Hurricanes and losses to the Vultures, Devils and Jailbirds. After this week we are finally getting a more solid read on the Lightning, who are now firmly entrenched in the middle tier of the league. However, given that they continue to play a deep 10-man rotation and provide development to their bumper crop of young talent this is an impressive achievement. This also makes the team somewhat unpredictable. One game Clarkson will pop up with 18-16 whilst the next it might be Spencer who has the impressive line. The one thing that may be holding the team back a little is the inconsistent performance of Lamar Francis. Francis' per 36 numbers are almost identical to last year's but the variation is problematic. For example this week he had 11 and 10 points in back to back games before exploding for 33 against the Hurricanes. If he can provide a consistent 20 points it would be a huge win for the team and would help them offset some of the inconsistency from their other young players.
14. St. Louis Skyhawks (4-6, - 6.8) (Last Week #15. + 1)
The Skyhawks opened their week with a win against the Jaguars at home but then lost back to back games against the Fireballs and Mustangs on the road. The team once again chopped and changed its lineup this week using its 3-big lineup for the first two games before bringing Hunter off the bench against the Mustangs. Whilst Oliver has improved since a rocky start to the season he isn't the same player he was last year. The team has clawed their way back into the playoff hunt in the EW as last year's playoff teams have all struggled but if their playoff chances begin to fade it may be time for them to start prioritising the development of Hunter who has significant star potential.
The Jaguars went 2-2 this week with home victories over the Kings and Huskies and losses to the Skyhawks and Devils. In Day 17 the team elevated Vega and Miles into the starting lineup at the expense of the underperforming Cavenell and Rice. Cavenell had earned his demotion and is not likely part of the team's future but the benching on Rice is a little more contentious. Rice showed strong signs of development towards the tail end of the 2019 season and has considerable potential. Whilst his recent performance hasn't been strong, his shooting has been poor to put it mildly, substituting Miles in his place feels like short term thinking. In fact there is a strong long terms argument that Miles' minutes should be going to Adams. Putting aside line-up queries the team must be thrilled with Hooker who continues to display poise and consistency beyond his years and remains firm favourite for Rookie of the Year.
The Devils went 2-2 this week in their best week of the season to date. Unfortunately despite later wins against the Lightning and Jags they opened their week with back to back losses to the Warriors and Cyclones. The Cyclones loss can be excused but the Warriors loss isn't acceptable for a team that fancies itself as a playoff contender. The glass half empty view is that Swayda has been solid to date but still hasn't consistently shown the offensive dynamism that won him 4 consecutive scoring titles, whilst Wilkinson seems determined to give his GM a heart attack. But alternatively the optimistic outlook would be that in the long term none of this may matter due to the emergence of Taquan Slattery. Slattery has exploded this year and is now averaging 26-11 on the season. At only 20 years of age the Devils look to have a top 10 player in the league for the next decade and a half.
The Cyclones had their best week of the season this week as they finally found some form. They destroyed the defending champion Scorpions at home and then followed that up with a win against the Devils on the road. They ended their week with a loss to the Hurricanes but should be pleased with the progress they've made over the past week. This week also saw the return of MRob who has looked rusty on his return from an Achilles injury. However as he improves he should provide the team with the stable playmaker that it's been missing through the start of the season.
18. Toronto Huskies (4-6, - 7.8) (Last Week #18, No Change)
The Huskies went 1-2 this week with a win against the Warriors but losses to the Knights and Jaguars. Given the team won only 14 games last season the team should be thrilled to have 4 wins after only 10 games. The only thing that lets the team down is their tendency to lose big when they do lose. Bryant King is having another exceptionally consistent season averaging almost 24-12 as the offensive centrepiece of the team. Much like the Jaguars with Bryant Rodgers, having that productive veteran means that if just a few of the developing young players perform the team can suddenly steal games. As the season goes on and Houston gets additional reps, and Barry settles into the SF position, except to see the Huskies steal more games from higher ranked opponents.
19. Philadelphia Warriors (3-10, - 7.5) (Last Week #19, No Change)
The Warriors went 1-3 this week with losses to the Stars, Fireballs and Huskies. Whilst the 1 point loss to the Huskies was a disappointing end to the week the team should focus on their day 16 win over the Devils which featured the most impressive performance of Alonzo Weaver's career to date. Weaver recorded 24-9-4 on over 50% shooting. Most impressively he did so whilst outplaying league legend Orpheus Swayda. Another positive if the continued performance of Foster and Tyson off the bench. Whilst neither is hugely consistent yet they are both showing regular flashes that they will be solid contributors in the future, making this draft class a tremendous success for the Warriors.
For the third consecutive week we have a new bottom placed team with the Kings taking 20th spot in the power rankings after a week in which they went 0-3 to take them to the worst record in the league. Despite Pace's offensive eruption in back to back losses the main story here is the rookie threesome. Turner started strongly and has solidified his spot in the starting lineup but this week the team also started to provide heavy minutes to Richardson who impressed with 20-6-4 in the loss to the Fireballs. Bensanity cooled off a little this week but he still matched the performance of Odiambo. Given the trajectory of the season it might be time to promote him to the starting lineup to see what he is capable off long term playing next to Black.